Friday, December 4, 2009

Strange Day in my History

The first Friday in December has become a very important day in my life. Some of it for the good, some for the bad.

Today, I planned on heading to The Globe Pub for the FIFA World Cup Draw for 2010, to be held in South Africa. The Globe has been voted the "Best Soccer Pub" in the country the last two years, and likely will be again, so it was the perfect place to watch the draw to see who would play who in next year's tournament.

Thinking back, it was four years ago that I had awaited this same day with much anticipation.

When it was announced in 2000 that Germany would host the 2006 World Cup, I explained to my wife. Pat, that I planned on going to the world's largest sporting event and asked her if she would like to come with, six years down the road. She looked at me, quizzically, and said, "Take your nephew!". Carmen was fifteen at the time, a fan of soccer, and I figured that at the age of twenty-one, he would likely be a fan of drinking, also. What better person to go with me to Germany.

To procure tickets for the World Cup, you had to fill out a form online to get into a worldwide lottery. I was fortunate to get two tickets for a game that was to be played in Gelsenkirchen, the first Monday of the tourney, and today, I was going to find out who would be playing.

Things fell right for me as I was going to see the USA squad play against the Czech Republic.

So that was an exciting first Friday in December, 2005.

2008 had been a strange year, as my fourth year of working with the Mike North Morning Show stopped in the middle of June, when Mike decided not to accept the Score's offer and they decided to go in a different direction. This led to me being relegated to afternoon updates the final six months of the year.

On the first Friday on December, 2008, I got to work early, around 10:00, to get ready for my shift, and to beat the traffic. When Program Director, Mitch Rosen said he needed to talk to me, I realized right there, bad things were about to happen.

I was informed that my services would no longer be required after sixteen years with the station. I was told that it had nothing to do with my performance, but the station, as well as all CBS affiliates, were cutting salary, and I was going to be leaving.

Not nearly as much fun as the same day in 2005!

This year, as I continue to look for that next dream job, I decided it would be good to get out of the house to watch the World Cup draw for next year's tournament, and there was no better place to go then the Globe. I saw a couple of guys I know from STATS, Inc., as well as a bunch of fans from Section Eight. Frankie Klopas, the Fire Technical Director was there, along with Lauren Brophy, the outgoing Manager of Communications for the team, before she leaves for New York to begin working with the Major League Soccer front office.

It was a fun day, with the USA being placed into Group C to play England in their first match, June 12th, next year. I had bangers, mash and beans, along with a couple pints of Shiner beer. Right choice, great atmosphere.

I can only hope that the next time the first Friday of December rolls around, things will be going much better for me, job-wise, health wise, and all around, but we'll have to wait another twelve months to find out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Day Alone With My Thoughts...oooo, scary!!!

I had the chance to visit with Mike North, Dan Jiggetts, Jen Patterson and the rest of the "Monsters in the Morning" show earlier today on Comcast SportsNet. It was nice for the guys to have me on, to chat about sports, Tiger Woods, the Bears, Notre Dame, etc.

The appearance got me thinking, which is always a hit or miss prospect.

There is a bunch of things swirling around this mind of mine, and I knew that this would be the proper place to open up with all of those thoughts, so stand back...here they come!

TBS and Chip Caray have decided to part ways. Harry's grandson had been doing games with the network for the past few years, including the playoffs. Some people didn't like Chip, but I wasn't one of them. I felt that he brought excitement to the game, especially to the games that didn't provide any themselves.

Did you catch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert Sunday night on HBO? I thought it was AWESOME! Throughout the program, Metallica, U2, and even the E Street band, became housebands for the likes of Lou Reed, Ozzy, Ray Davies, Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, and more. Even I choked up a bit, when Stevie Wonder lost it while singing a Michael Jackson song with John Legend, (So I am getting soft in my old age...not that kind of soft, aw, forget it). By the way, Stevie still puts on one heck of a show.

Athletes, including baseball players, have been taking a bad rap over the last few years, but did you see what the Anaheim Angels did? They voted the family of Nick Adenhart, the young pitcher that was killed early in the season in a car crash, a full share of their playoff money, some $138,000. Sometimes we forget to mention the good things these guys do.

The Bears biggest mistake happened in the off-season, when they brought in Orlando Pace and Frank Omiyale to provide blocking on the left side of the line. Can they get rid of those two guys right now? John Tait's retiring was a small little thing, that really did this team in. Talk about not being prepared!

Lindsey Hunter made me happy last night. I don't know how else to say it. Hunter needed to take up some minutes with Kirk Hinrich out with another thumb problem, and the old guy played well. Now he may be a bit sore today, those old bones and all, but he did what he could to get a win. If Derrick Rose would have just attacked the basket on the final play of the game. Bogut was out on Miller. Rose could have made it to the hoop, or at least gotten fouled.

I attended another "mini high school reunion" last Friday night at Michael Anthony's in Berwyn. Morton East, class of '75, thank you! We had two of these last year, and apparently, those that show up have enough fun reminiscing that we keep coming back for more. A biggie awaits in 2010...it's 35 years!

The Colorado Rockies are looking for a radio broadcaster for their games this season on KOA. I could relocate to Denver to do Major League baseball. What do you think?

Catching a Blackhawks game with a former colleague tonight. Seats in the 300 level, a great way to see the attack forming as the teams come up the ice. At the old Chicago Stadium, a buddy of mine, Sam DeSio, had season tickets in the first row of the second balcony. I'll raise a beer to the rafters for you tonight, Sam.

I just got done watching a couple of the latest episodes of Californication and Dexter. Unbelievable shows! If you haven't seen the shows before, put the previous seasons on your Christmas wish lists. You won't be disappointed.